Local people have volunteered to star in a short Christmas film from Cleveland Police which encourages victims to report domestic abuse.
Sadly the festive period can be a time when incidents of domestic abuse increase and the film – which will run on the Force’s social media channels, the ITV Hub and in local news – acts as a reminder that police are always ready to hear from anyone who is ready to report abuse to them.
Police know that this year’s lockdowns have been particularly challenging for those who live with an abuser. The film recognises that for victims of abuse the isolation many of us have experienced may be their ‘normal’ and makes a plea for them to report what is happening.
The film also acts as a reminder to family and friends that if they’re worried about someone they can support them to contact police or do it on their behalf. People are encouraged to dial 101 and 999 in an emergency.
The ‘silent solution’ which allows a victim to dial 999 but if they’re unable to speak to still get help is also explained. After dialling 999 the caller should cough or tap, listen to the prompts and when prompted press 55 and stay on the line.
Cleveland Police’s Detective Chief Inspector Jayne Downes, said: “This film will allow us to reach out to people in their homes over the Christmas period and remind them whenever they’re ready to report, we’re ready to listen.
“We’re grateful to the local people who volunteered to star in the film and our partners working with domestic abuse victims who have supported the idea.
“Domestic abuse is never acceptable and never part of a normal relationship. Nobody has to tolerate it. Report it to us when you’re ready and get help.
“The contact details for many excellent local organisations who will assist victims are available on our website Cleveland.police.uk”
The film features a male and female relationship and a female victim as this is statistically the most common form of abuse in our Force area. However, officers know abuse happens in same sex and familial relationships and victims can be of any gender. Officers are trained to investigate all reports of domestic abuse in a victim-focussed way.
Four couples star in the film which takes the form of a video call, a scenario familiar to families across the area as it helped so many people stay in touch over lockdown.
A pivotal moment of the 40 second film is when it becomes clear one of the callers is suffering abuse in their relationship but feels unable to speak out. The voiceover then explains how victims can get help by reporting to police on 101 or be helped by friends and family who would call on their behalf.
Friends Carl Wilson, 33 and Liv Quantrill, 27, from Middlesbrough are two of the volunteers who star in the ad.
Carl said: “The message it puts out is that the police and the community are out there for people in all types of need. We need to work together now and in the future for all people suffering. It was my honour to take part.”
Liv said: “Domestic violence is on the rise across the UK, even more so due to this year’s unforeseen circumstances and if I can help my community on speaking out and getting help I will do everything within my power to do so.”
You can see the film on Cleveland Police’s social media accounts. For more information on how to report and where to get help: https://bit.ly/2Wo248z